by Sara Arnett and Sarah Curry
When spouses are deployed over the holidays, an additional challenge is presented to homefront families. How closely will we stick to our traditions? Do I even feel like “doing” the holidays this year?
Thanks be to God that the holidays can both still hold their joy for spouses, children, and the deployed soldiers, too.
Can it be just the same as if they were home? No. Can it be joyful? With God’s help, yes.
As families who have faced this holiday scenario, here are a few lessons we learned:
1. Pray, pray, pray. Pray that the Lord will sustain you and that your heart will be drawn to your Savior and your spouse in a new way. Pray for all of the deployed service men and women, and for their families. Search the Scriptures and claim God’s promises for your children, your spouse, and yourself.
2. Be realistic about what you can do. A perfectly planned and executed holiday does not automatically make it a happy one. Do your best to make it special, but don’t think that doing more will make it better.
If you are a home front spouse this year, decide what is most important to you and just do your best.
3. Determine in advance to keep a positive outlook. Many well-intentioned souls (often including our own families) become especially “sorry for you” during the holidays.
It is okay to publicly acknowledge that you would rather have your deployed loved one home, but it is also okay to truly enjoy the season. Honestly tell others that while you appreciate their concern, you have decided to focus on your blessings and the joy of Lord.
4. Remember the reason for Christmas. It is the same this year as it ever was–Jesus was born a baby so that we could be His children.
This foundation stands true whether you carry out your traditions or make new ones. When your celebrations center around Christ, others will notice. What an opportunity to share the reason for the hope that is in us! (1 Peter 3:15)
Celebrating the holidays without your spouse is hard. To your children, though, it signals that the reason for our joy doesn’t change with circumstances. During the holiday season, cling to Jesus. He is our unchanging strength.
This article originally appeared in COMMAND magazine, or an OCF Ministry Report.